Are we ready for exploding growth in York County?

May 31, 2011 

An analysis of new U.S. census data shows trends that can either be encouraging or alarming for citizens of York County. Planned growth is good for an economy that is still struggling to recover from a deep recession. Runaway growth that happens when an area reaches a tipping point can overwhelm the infrastructure and the environment of a county which has enjoyed an enjoyable and rewarding quality of life in the past.

An analysis by UNC Charlotte’s Urban Institute shows that York County was the second-fastest growing in South Carolina in the past decade with an increase of over 37 percent. Equally impressive was the fact that York was the second fastest-growing county in the 14-county Charlotte urban region. Only Union County, N.C., grew faster.

The dramatic growth especially increases the pressure on citizens of the Lake Wylie area of York to consider whether to incorporate or to develop other ways to plan and zone for effective maintenance of a healthy and attractive lifestyle.

Already we can see what happens when a part of our community becomes vacant and decays—particularly when it serves as a gateway. Charlotte bears witness to the blight that occurs when big-box stores become empty.

We need more leadership from county or state governments to help us deal with the impact of the growth we witnessed in the past decade and that may well continue into the next one. Perhaps we can partner with Lancaster County, which itself grew by 25 percent, to channel the spillover growth from Charlotte into a positive force for our communities.

The Lake Wylie Pilot editorial board is made up of members editor Catherine Muccigrosso and residents Ricardo Bach, Fred Freiberger, Bob Mazzoni, Ken Sanford, Ian Saunders and Nancy Sparber.

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